Spells in Master of Magic are split into several categories. This helps distinguish them from one another based on their usage and their effects. On the outside, the game organizes spells into 6 major groups (based mainly on their targeting mechanics, as explained below). Internally however, it divides them into no less than 23 different categories. This wiki uses a "middle-ground" representation, and expands on the visible official grouping to create the 9 Spell Types listed below:
- Summoning Spells
- Unit Enchantments
- Unit Curses
- Town Enchantments
- Town Curses
- Global Enchantments
- Instant Spells
- Combat Enchantments
- Combat Instants
Spells of the same Type follow a few generalized common rules, especially pertaining to their valid targets, the situations in which they can be cast, and the nature of their effects. Many spells in the game have their own quirks or odd rules however, making them slightly different than other spells of the same Type. As a result, some spells may actually fit multiple categories simultaneously.
Categorization by Target Edit
This is the original grouping used by the game to display the available spells in a spellbook. Spells that are of the same Type (as listed on the wiki) will generally appear in the same section of the book whenever the player is prompted to select a spell to cast. However, there are a few spells that fit a different Type better than what the original grouping suggests, and in these cases the spell will appear in a different category on the wiki.
Spells of the same group or Type often require the same type of target. Specific valid targets are defined by each spell's own rules, but the generic nature of targets that the spell accepts usually conform to the requirements of both its group and its Type. The six original groups, and the wiki's expansion of these, in order of appearance in the spellbook, are as follows:
- Summoning Spells: these spells conjure a unit (typically a Fantastic one), and are in the same group on the wiki as they are in the game. They require no targeting on the overland map: the new creature(s) automatically appear at the caster's Summoning Circle, wherever that may be. There is however, a sub-type of these spells that can only be used in combat, which instead have to be targeted at an empty square on the combat map to summon the unit to. These are sometimes referred to as "Combat Summons".
- Special Spells: this is the group of spells that do not fit into any of the other targeting groups, although some of them do use mechanics similar to those. Most of the spells in this group are termed Instant Spells on the wiki, as they are typically "fire and forget", even if they have a lasting effect, meaning that they may not be dispelled once cast (although some of their effects might). These spells take the most diverse range of target types, from enemy Wizards, through terrain tiles, to the more conventional Cities, units, or army stacks.
- City Spells: spells in this group always take a Town as their target. The wiki splits the group into the two different Spell Types of Town Enchantments and Town Curses. The former are targeted at friendly Towns, improving or protecting them in one way or another. The latter may only be cast on enemy Towns, in order to damage them or lower their economic contributions. Spells from this group are also re-typed as Instant Spells on the wiki if their effects are non-dispellable and do not actually appear in the Town's "Enchantment" list.
- Enchantments: this is a spell group that requires no targeting whatsoever, regardless of whether they can be cast on the overland map (Global Enchantments), or in battle (Combat Enchantments). They will automatically seek their own targets, and will sometimes only trigger when a certain event occurs. Their effects are always removable one way or another, and both Spell Types of this group are exclusive to the casting circumstance of being in combat or not.
- Unit Spells: as the name implies, these spells are always cast on individual units. The wiki further differentiates between Unit Enchantments - beneficial spells that need to be cast on friendly units; and Unit Curses, that are targeted at enemy units, in order to reduce their combat performance or alter their behavior. Again, a few of these spells are not actual enchantments (i.e. they may not be dispelled by conventional means), and as such are re-typed as Instant Spells on the wiki.
- Combat Spells: the last group contains spells that can only be cast in battle. These are called Combat Instants on the wiki, although this Spell Type also takes over some of the original Special Spells - mainly the ones that can only be cast in combat. They typically either require a specific target unit (which they usually injure or incapacitate), or no target at all (in which case they'll affect each valid target on the battlefield).
Categorization by Usage Edit
The game makes a clear distinction between spells that can be used only during combat, spells that can be used only outside of combat, and spells that can be used in both situations. When opening the spellbook to cast a spell, the game will always only list the spells that are allowed under the current circumstances.
- The only Spell Types that are really exclusive to the overland map are Global Enchantments and Town Curses. There are also two more groups that are almost entirely associated with this casting method. Instant Spells can always be used overland, and there are only 3 exceptions of this type (Disenchant Area, Disenchant True, and Word of Recall), that are also allowed in combat. Similarly, Town Enchantments are designed mainly for overland casting, but Wall of Darkness and Wall of Fire may be used in combat as well. The majority of Summoning Spells are also overland-only, although in this case the ones that are not are instead combat-only, and can not be cast on the campaign map at all. Finally, a small number (6) of Unit Enchantments are limited to overland casting, although half of these provide benefits that would be meaningless in combat anyway.
- Combat Instants and Combat Enchantments, as their name implies, are only usable during a battle. Unit Curses can also only be cast in combat. As mentioned already, there are also several Combat Summons which are again, limited to this casting method. In addition, there are also two Unit Enchantments (Berserk and Haste), that may only be used in battle.
- Unit Enchantments are the most common Spell Type that can be cast both overland and in combat. They even have separate, well-defined mechanics that are different based on this circumstance. When cast in battle, they are much cheaper, but will always expire when combat is finished. Overland, on the other hand, they can last as long as their Upkeep Cost is paid. This mechanic is duplicated for the two Town Enchantments mentioned above, while the three Instant Spells that share this usage style can be cast for the same Casting Costs regardless of whether they are used in- or outside of combat.
Categorization by Effect Duration Edit
Spells can also be said to fall into two or three major groups based on how long the effect of the spell lasts.
- The terms Enchantment and Curse denote spells that have a lingering effect. These continue to have a presence in the world after being cast, and must remain present to maintain their effect(s). If the spell is canceled, dispelled, or dissipated, its effects will usually disappear with it. Global Enchantments, Combat Enchantments, Town Enchantments, Town Curses, Unit Enchantments and Unit Curses all belong to this category; and if they are cast overland, share the common notion of requiring an Upkeep Cost to be paid every turn to remain in operation.
- Enchantments and Curses used during combat are sometimes split into their own category, since these spells have a limited duration, and can only last until the end of a battle. Their effects will naturally dissipate at that point, given that they are tied to the spell's existence. However, since these spells have a lingering presence, they can also be dispelled by an opponent - though it is not possible to manually cancel them once successfully cast.
- Instant Spells and Combat Instants are spells that do not maintain a presence after they're done being cast. They apply a certain effect - usually a permanent one - and then the spell itself disappears. Since it has no further presence, the spell typically cannot be dispelled by an enemy (with a few very special exceptions, that also leave behind a dispellable effect).
- The same goes for Summoning Spells. They simply create a new unit, that will typically stick around until it is killed off or dismissed. Even the Summoning Spells used during combat, that conjure creatures that only last until the end of the battle, disappear once the unit is successfully summoned. The enemy must actively kill the creature - dispel type magic will have no effect, the spell itself is already gone.